This is our tub.

Yep, we actually bathed in that thing. Well to its defense, it is a wonderful cast iron tub original to our 50’s bungalow but boy was it looking shabby! Lots of people asked us why we didn’t just want to replace it and to tell you the truth, it probably would have been easier and cost about the same as refinishing but they just don’t make ’em like they used to anymore. The tub is a wonderful size, super deep, and definitely sturdy. It really just needed a bit of a facelift.

Thats where my husband comes into play.

The entire bathroom renovation has been a his and hers adventure except for (2) things. The tub and the vanity. Wes is a millwork finisher by day and the poor soul that has to deal with my never-ending to-do list by night. For those that don’t know, a millwork finisher is someone who focuses on the actual finish (paint, stain, etc.) of a cabinet or piece of furniture for example. Pretty much anything made out of wood. Wes currently works at an architectural millwork company here in Charlotte that has a marine interiors department. Obviously any woodwork on a boat/yacht that may be outdoors has to be treated differently. Thats where the connection between our bathtub and his job begins. In order to protect certain wood pieces on a yacht and the actually yacht itself, they use an epoxy resin as the topcoat. This epoxy provides an almost indestructible layer to protect the millwork and furniture from the water and sun.

Light bulb moment! Our bathtub has to stand up to water…hmmm…if epoxy resin works for boats then it certainly should work on our bathtub!  And it does.

Wes started the tub refinishing by prepping the surface. This may be the most important step of all: removing all the previous finish. If the previous finish is not removed it could continue to peel and therefore cause the new finish to peel off. All your hard work later will be down the drain (pun intended!) if you don’t prep the surface properly.

After the previous finish was removed used 100 grit sandpaper, Wes used some Bondo to repair the dent in the bottom of our tub. Bondo is typically used to repair damage on automobiles so we knew it could stand up to the water in the tub.

Once the bondo dried completely, Wes sanded the repaired area with 100 grit sandpaper and then wiped down the entire tub with acetone to ensure that all the dust was removed and the surface was clean so there were no adhesion issues.  

The next step is to apply the primer. We used a marine primer in white. This was for two reasons: (1) to ensure that the undercoat could withstand the water as well and (2) because the epoxy resin is clear. Whatever color you choose for the primer, will be the color of your tub. The primer was applied with a foam roller that is made specifically for these marine products. We only needed one coat to cover our tub thoroughly but depending on the condition of your tub, you could need two. 

After the primer dried (we let ours sit overnight as well for a total of 16 hours), Wes lightly sanded with 600 grit sand paper, wiped with a tack cloth, and applied the first coat of epoxy resin.

We used this epoxy resin with a hardener added and applied it with a foam roller made specifically for the epoxy resin. Wes coated the tub with one coat and waited for it to dry enough (the epoxy resin should feel like the sticky side of masking tape) before the second coat was added. Once the second coat is applied, we wait. Everything should be fully dry in about 16 hours (or until the tub is no longer sticky) and then it is ready for use!

But wait…it doesn’t stop there. One more step. The epoxy resin continues to cure and harden over the next week or so and will be completely cured after 2 weeks. Once the epoxy resin is cured, you will buff the service to smooth out the finish and give it that beautiful shine! We will be doing that step in the next few weeks so I’ll give more detail if necessary once we actually tackle it.

It may seem like a big job when you can just hire someone to do it for you but we saved nearly $300 in the end. If we could do it all over again, we definitely would!